Author: Amor Towles
Series: Forward Collection #4
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
First Published: September 17, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Source: Prime Reading
Nature or nurture? Neither. Discover a bold new way to raise a child in this unsettling story of the near future by the New York Times bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow.
When Sam’s wife first tells him about Vitek, a twenty-first-century fertility lab, he sees it as the natural next step in trying to help their future child get a “leg up” in a competitive world. But the more Sam considers the lives that his child could lead, the more he begins to question his own relationships and the choices he has made in his life.Also in this series: Ark, Emergency Skin, Randomize
This was an interesting little think piece about technology and genetics, exploring the ethics of fertility clinics and the option for high-paying customers to influence the traits of their children. IVF services are already available that allow parents to screen for heredity diseases and select a gender or eye color.
You Have Arrived at Your Destination takes things a step further by imagining a world where prospective parents can influence their children’s inherent traits and predict outcomes for their child’s life based on statistical data gathered about real people and their experiences. The idea that large corporations have access to a wealth of information about the highs and lows of people’s lives and their personality traits or genetic makeup is scary, but also not too far-fetched. Social media giants already take heat for collecting data on users and selling that information to advertising agencies. Data has become the new profitable commodity in an increasingly internet-connected society.
“It goes without saying that our lives are intricate and multifaceted.”
This story was both funny and a little bit frightening with the implications that this technology would have on society. Control is offered as a service for parents looking to raise a carefully curated designer baby. A form of eugenics dressed up as a breakthrough, complete with cinematic trailers for parents to choose from like they would an accessory. As any well-meaning parent knows though, you can’t control the life that your progeny chooses to live even when you try to do everything right by them. I’m reminded of a quote from Anne Frank, “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
A good entry in the Forward Collection and a delightful piece of speculative fiction.